Taking sci-fi to the ocean’s floor, SeaQuest DSV chronicled the adventures of a huge and high-tech research submarine, the DSV or “Deep Submergence Vehicle.” Produced by Steven Spielberg’s production company Amblin Entertainment and assigned with what’s reportedly the highest budget ever handed to a television (two million dollars an episode), this show wielded some impressive hit-show-making weapons.
By the year 2019, according to the show’s premise, the sea would represent a major component of global resources—and a vulnerable one, thanks to man’s sometimes not-so-gentle use of the Earth. Underwater mining and farming were big business, and it was the job of the DSV sub to patrol the ocean depths, working to preserve peace and further scientific research. The SeaQuest operated under the auspices of the UEO—the United Earth Oceans—an international oceanographic governing organization. It all sounds very Star Trek—only underwater, instead of out in space.
Aided by Darwin, a talking bottlenose dolphin, the SeaQuest crew battled a series of underwater catastrophes in their effort to maintain a peaceful sea—mining colonies, pirates, terrorists, viruses, and sea creatures were just a few. At the end of the first season, the original vessel was destroyed off the coast of Australia, so a new, smaller version was built.
The SeaQuest vessel was captained by Nathan Bridger, played by Roy Scheider, who had worked with executive producer Steven Spielberg on Jaws. Bridger was an ex-military man who turned to science later in his career, and was then lured back to active duty when the UEO asked him to man the very sub he had designed years earlier. Ted Raimi, brother of Evil Dead director Sam Raimi, portrayed O’Neill, and the famous kin cast also included Dom Deluise’s sons Michael and Peter DeLuise.
For the third and final season, the series was re-christened SeaQuest 2032, and had jumped forward several years in timeframe (to 2032, to be exact). Scheider and other main players left the show, and Michael Ironside stepped in to command as Captain Oliver Hudson. Along with the high-profile stars, the show also booked guest appearances from members of sci-fi’s elite: Michael “Logan’s Run” York, William “James T. Kirk” Shatner, and Charlton “you know who he is” Heston.
Fans still lament that this show’s writers and producers shuffled around as much as they did, and that its run was only three years. It hooked people early on, especially those eager for another fictional odyssey into the unknown.
NBC – Amblin – Universal / 1×90 minute episode 53×50 minute episodes / Broadcast 12 September 1993 – 27 December 1995
Creator: Rockne S. O’Bannon / Executive Producers: Steven Spielberg, David J. Burke, Tony Thompson, Patrick Hasburgh, Clifton Campbell,
Roy Scheider as Capt. Nathan Bridger (1993-95)
Michael Ironside as Capt. Oliver Hudson (1995-96)
Don Franklin as Cmdr. Jonathan Ford
Jonathan Brandis as Lucas Wolenczak
Ted Raimi as Lt. Tim O’Neill
Michael Costello as UEO Secretary General Thomas McGath
Stacy Haiduk as Lt. Cmdr. Katie Hitchcock (1993-94)
John D’Aquino as Lt. Benjamin Krieg (1993-94)
Royce D. Applegate as Chief Manilow Crocker (1993-94)
Marco Sánchez as Sensor Chief Miguel Ortiz (1993-95)
Stephanie Beacham as Dr. Kristin Westphalen (1993-94)
Dustin Nguyen as Chief Shan (1993-94)
Kathy Evison as Lt. Lonnie Henderson (1994-96)
Edward Kerr as Lt. James Brody (1994-96)
Michael DeLuise as Seaman Tony Piccolo (1994-96)
Peter DeLuise as Dagwood (1994-96)
Rosalind Allen as Dr. Wendy Smith (1994-95)
Elise Neal as Lt. J.J. Fredricks (1995-96)
Frank Welker as Darwin (voice)